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FOC Spotlight of the Month! Dr. Ron Jackson

Haley West


Department of Communication professor Dr. Ronald Jackson is the 2020 recipient of the prestigious National Communication Association (NCA) Distinguished Scholar Award. This is the highest award a scholar of communication can receive for their lifetime of scholarly achievement from NCA.

Dr. Jackson was born and raised in Cincinnati and earned both a BA and MA in communication from our department. He then went on to Howard University for his PhD in communication. From there, Dr. Jackson became a professor of communication earning tenure and eventually returned to his home department here at UC. Along with his teaching and scholarship, he became president of the Eastern Communication Association (ECA) and the National Communication Association where his term just ended.

Prof. Jackson is now back to teaching and researching full time. Over the years he has worked on countless research projects but his favorite area of research is identity negotiation. He describes this as how “we have to manage or deal with different parts of our personality that are built around how we're socialized.” He says identity negotiation is interesting because our “identities are something we can’t leave the house without; they make up our personality and make us who we are. It's so intriguing and it's awesome to pay attention to, just because people change right before your eyes like people that you've known for a long time they behave differently toward new people!”

Dr. Jackson also has many publications on various areas of communication as well, but his favorite is “Scripting the Black Masculine Body.” He says that the “whole idea is that because we live in a society that is critical of others, people that are critical of you regardless of age, race, gender, or sexual orientation, that those individuals are metaphorically writing onto your body. Like they are imposing their own writing on your body, so that way when they read your body, they're reading their own script.”

His advice to students and alumni is to follow your passion. He says to find something that deeply compels you, so that you will never be unenthused by the topic or area of study. He says, “if you find something that you love, you will never work another day in your life!” Dr. Jackson also said the best piece of advice he could give was from the famous management guru, Peter Drucker, “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Dr. Jackson says that means you are not going to be able to succeed just off what we learned in college. He says we need “to know the organization's way of doing things first.” Dr. Jackson says this because “you can have all the strategy in the world but, if you don't know the culture you are going into, you are not going to succeed.”

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